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Another Twist in Genentech v. University of California

Executive Summary

The University of California's patent infringement lawsuit against Genentech, concerning Genetics' human growth hormone, was recently heard by a federal court jury in California. The jurors hung on the infringement issue, which will be retried in April 2000. At about the same time, the US supreme Court came down with a decision (in the College Savings Bank case) that will probably result in the dismissal of a mirror image action brought by Genentech in an Indiana federal court. The Court in College Savings bank ruled that state entities -- including state universities -- cannot be sued for damages under federal patent laws. Some have suggested that, by insulating state university patents from infringement suits, there may big IP problems ahead for biotechs. Such concerns are overstated, although patent lawyers for such companies will need to be alert to this significant development.

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